terça-feira, 6 de setembro de 2016

PAST TENSES IN PORTUGUESE: PRETÉRITO PERFEITO vs. PRETÉRITO IMPERFEITO


Image (Fut Past Presence) by Hartwig HKD (CC BY 2.0)
You could note that if you don't use the proper conjugation in Portuguese your phrase can be quite confused. In this article I will discuss about “Pretérito Perfeito” and “Pretérito Imperfeito”.


In this post I want to talk about a subject that doesn't bring me any memory about a special question. no special question because this subject is something that guarantees interesting questions from anybody that learns Portuguese... Let's go:

PRETÉRITO PERFEITO SIMPLES

First, let's see what does pretérito perfeito simples do. This tense expresses a not customary action in the past that was completely finished. See the table below, it shows the conjugation for regular verbs:

CANTAR COMER EXISTIR
Eu cantei
Tu cantaste
Ele/Ela/Você cantou
Nós cantamos
Vós cantastes
Eles/Elas/Vocês cantaram
Eu comi
Tu comeste
Ele/Ela/Você comeu
Nós comemos
Vós comestes
Eles/Elas/Vocês comeram
Eu existi
Tu exististe
Ele/Ela/Você existiu
Nós existimos
Vós exististes
Eles/Elas/Vocês existiram

Good! Now we already know what this tense does and you already know the proper conjugation. Now let's see what are the situations where we need to use the pretérito perfeito:

1 ) Show a completed action, an already performed action:
Nós arrumamos tudo e saímos mais cedo de casa.
Ele estudou as lições ontem à noite.

2 ) Ask and answer about what has been done:
— Você comprou este sapato na loja de Maria?
— Sim comprei.

We can write an exercice to help us remember about pretérito perfeito? In the box bellow, you can write about how did your last trip go...





PRETÉRITO IMPERFEITO

Now let's talk about pretérito imperfeito. This tense expresses an action in the past that was interrupted. Also, the imperfeito expresses an customary action in the past that is not performed anymore. The table bellow shows the proper conjugation:

CANTAR COMER EXISTIR
Eu cantava
Tu cantavas
Ele/Ela/Você cantava
Nós cantávamos
Vós cantáveis
Eles/Elas/Vocês cantavam
Eu comia
Tu comias
Ele/Ela/Você comia
Nós comíamos
Vós comíeis
Eles comiam
Eu comia
Tu comias
Ele/Ela/Você comia
Nós comíamos
Vós comíeis
Eles comiam

A simple situation where we can use the imperfeito is

1) To indicate an action that was interrupted:
Pedro brincava no quintal quando começou a chover.
Ele estudava as lições quando foi interrompido.

But there are more situations where we can apply the imperfeito:

2) to indicates a continuous action performed in the past that it doesn't performed anymore:
João viajava todo final de semana.

3) To describe people, things etc. in the past:
Os convidados usavam roupas bonitas.

4) To indicate simultaneous action.
Renata fazia o almoço enquanto Mariana arrumava a casa.

We can do this exercise to help memorize the use of pretérito imperfeito. In the box below, you can write about how was your life in school...





PRETÉRITO PERFEITO COMPOSTO

Something really important about the Pretérito Perfeito and Pretérito Imperfeito is that these tenses indicate actions in the pas that has nothing to do with the present. (if you are fluent in Spanish, you can see some important issues in the "attention" boxes in the Spanish Version for this article)

And it's interesting to compare these tenses with the Pretérito Perfeito Composto. We use the perfeito composto to indicate an customary action that was initiated in the past and continues to the present. The table below shows the proper structure:

CANTAR COMER
Eu tenho cantado
Tu tens cantado
Ele/Ela/Você tem cantado
Nós temos cantado
Vós tendes cantado
Eles/Elas/Vocês têm cantado
Eu tenho comido
Tu tens comido
Ele/Ela/Você tem comido
Nós temos comido
Vós tendes comido
Eles/Elas/Vocês têm comido


Example:
Tenho estudado nos últimos dias e tenho ampliado bastante meus conhecimentos.

Now let's do the last exercise to help us to memorize the pretérito perfeito composto. In the box bellow, you can write what have you been doing to improve your Portuguese skills...







CLICK HERE TO KNOW HOW YOUR TEXTS CAN BE CORRECTED.


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